Lower Deck’s “Moist Vessel” is the most Star Trekky Episode Yet!

The crew of the Cerritos join forces with the crew of the Merced to tow a deficit alien generational ship to a starbase so that scientists can study the weird alien goo inside which seems to form life out of inorganic components. Meanwhile, Captain Freeman hatches a devious plan to force Mariner to resign of her own accord.

I really dug this episode and find it the most classic Trek of all of the Lower Decks episodes so far. “Moist Vessel” had a very nice, very classic Star Trek plot involving the alien ship and the goo getting loose in the ship and, best of all, took advantage of its animated format to tell the story in a way that the live action Star Trek series couldn’t have without destroying their budget for the entire season.

More than that, I very much enjoyed seeing the crew united across the ship to not only survive, but to meet the problem head on. Yes, this is an animated comedy, but it is such a relief to see that the crew isn’t reduced to idiots who can’t function in space. They are capable, they are knowledgeable… they’re Starfleet!

On top of that, I am loving the fact that Mariner, who I had initially pegged as the most potentially irritating crewmember, is undergoing such wonderful character development. We’re seeing where her rebellious streak comes from, we’re seeing her learning and getting humbled, and, as I said earlier, we’re seeing what she is actually doing on a starship. She belongs there… if her attitude wasn’t always getting in the way.

I mean, come on… make her white, make her a guy, send her back in time 100 years and she would be a young James T. Kirk.

The humor was always present, even if the enjoyable Star Trek science fiction plot did dampen it a bit (Hey, I’ll take the trade, though!) I remember actually laughing out loud twice: When the captain found out what the crew were actually using the holodeck for and when Enlightenment Guy actually enlightened, a sequence that was so amazingly ridiculous and got even more ridiculous and hilarious as it went on. What does the koala know!?

Seeing Mariner adjust to life as a senior officer was also highly amusing, but I do have to say that they really dropped the ball with Boimler who seemed to get lost in the shuffle after his amusing decision to break all the regulations he could. I mean, come on… he spilled a cup of coffee and then that was it. It wasn’t even funny or consequential. I would have loved to have seen this taken farther.

All in all, Lower Decks is showing a very nice, very gradual upswing of quality as the season goes on. This might not have been the funniest episode, but it’s definitely become my new favorite of the season… something I seem to be saying with each new episode.

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